Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sex Card Purge Is Working, Say Police

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sex Card Purge Is Working, Say Police

Article excerpt


WEEK-LONG patrols in central London have seen the arrest of 17 "tart carders" and led to claims that similar purges could finally mean pornography-free telephone boxes.

In a joint operation this week by the Metropolitan Police, Westminster council and BT, legislation introduced just two weeks ago is bringing swifter and heavier retribution on those who offend residents and tourists with graphic depictions of naked prostitutes.

Police patrolling in an unmarked vehicle arrested one 23-year-old man outside Bayswater Tube yesterday after spotting him in a red phone box.

When Sergeant Simon Laurence first approached, the carder stopped after a lookout a few metres away warned him. Sgt Laurence crossed the road and went into a delicatessen, from where he watched the carder resume, walking to the next box in a line of four.

Sgt Laurence said: "I went up to him and walked him straight back into the phone box because I've had too many run off on me. He told me he was working for someone who was in court today and couldn't do it himself.

"There were 12 to 14 cards in the box but he claimed he hadn't put them all up, only the three I'd seen him do. He knows he could be fined [pound]100 per card."

Sgt Laurence confiscated a carrier bag containing an estimated 5,000 cards.

Thirty officers from the Street Offences and Juvenile Protection Unit based at Charing Cross made daily patrols of Westminster's 700 phone boxes with BT security staff who know the worst affected ones. Officials from Westminster acted as "spotters" to locate suspects and tell police. Regular carders have "rounds" like paper boys which are drawn on spotters' maps.

Legislation passed on 1 September means that putting prostitutes' cards in public call boxes is now an arrestable offence, and police have the power to seize cards and destroy them. …

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